RAJAR Q1 2017: London & national radio round-up

Capital has re-gained the top spot in London based on reach in the first three months of 2017, increasing the size of its audience by almost 30% quarter-on-quarter.

There are also significant quarterly rises for fellow Global stations Gold London and LBC London News, both up around a third compared with Q4/16.

Magic London has lost 15% of its audience this quarter – down to 1.454m from 1.723m in the final three months of 2016, but remains third biggest commercial station in the capital.

Capital Xtra is down from over half a million listeners both a year ago and last quarter to now just 380,000 – its lowest audience size in two years.

The top 5 stations in London based on reach in Q1/2017 are as follows:

  1. Capital London 2.24m
  2. Kiss London 1.8m
  3. Magic London 1.454m
  4. Heart London 1.395m
  5. LBC 1.072m

When you add in the London audiences of the BBC networks, Capital is the second biggest station behind Radio 4 (2.674m in London), while Radio 2 has 2.222m. Radio 1 has lost nearly 400,000 listeners in London over the last year – it now has 1,382m so has a smaller audience in the Capital than Radio 4, Capital, Radio 2, Kiss, Magic and Heart. With 1.216m, BBC Radio 5 live isn’t far behind Radio 1 in London now and is more popular than LBC.

On share, LBC is number 1 commercially in London with 5.5%, followed by Capital 5.2%, Heart 4.4%, Kiss 4% and Magic 3.8%. Radio 4’s share in London is a whopping 15.6%, while Radio 2 has a 12% share of listening in the capital.

New London stations: Chris Country static on 23,000 listeners and Thames Radio drops dramatically from its debut figure of 15,000 reach to just 4,000.

At breakfast in London: Dave, George and Lilah finished on a high with 1.244m listeners, up from 881,000 in Q4/16. This moved Capital back above Rickie, Melvin & Charlie on Kiss who reach 941,000 people each week. Nick Ferrari on LBC (678k) has London’s third biggest commercial breakfast show, with Jamie & Emma on Heart fourth (654k) and Magic Breakfast with Nick Snaith fifth (570k). Chris Moyles reaches 196,000 in London on Radio X – that’s lower than LBC London News (239k) and Gold (201k), but above Capital Xtra which has dropped from 319k last quarter to just 167k at breakfast in Q1/17. Mid-table commercial breakfast shows in London include Christian O’Connnell on Absolute who remains level at 376k and Russ Williams on Smooth London breakfast who is up slightly to 338k.

Global has the top four commercial radio networks. The biggest national commercial radio brand is still Heart, with 8.96m listeners a week (including Heart Extra). Capital isn’t far behind with 8.306m (including Capital Xtra). Next is Classic FM 5.363m (up 4.7% year on year) then Smooth with 5.35m followed by the Kiss stations 5.068m (down 6% year on year) and Magic at 3.559m (including Chilled, Soul and Mellow).

Absolute 80s has lost just over a fifth of its audience in the last year – it’s down to 1.359m from 1.72m at the start of 2016. Absolute Radio Classic Rock, however, has added just under 20% to its audience over the 12 months to now reach 673,000.

Bauer’s Heat and Kerrang have both lost a significant chunk of audience over the year – Heat now has 594,000 (was 878k in Q1/16), while Kerrang is down to 595k (from 787k last year). Planet Rock too has lost almost 20% of its reach, falling to 1.026m from 1.265m a year ago.

Wireless Group’s Virgin Radio added 15% to its reach compared with Q4/16, moving up from 324k to 373k. talkSPORT drops below the 3 million mark, with 2.729m its lowest Q1 reach for several years. talkSPORT 2 dips slightly to 271,000 listeners a week (was 294k last quarter). And talkRADIO posts a reach of 238,000 in Q1/17, down from 252,000 in Q4/16.

Union Jack from OXIS Media debuts with 71,000 listeners across the UK, the second-lowest reach of any national station in RAJAR with only The Arrow below it on 47k. The Arrow has lost half its audience quarter on quarter.

Among the BBC Network services, the only stations to increase audience year on year in Q1/17 are Radio 4, Radio 4 Extra, 6 Music and the BBC Asian Network. The latter’s reach is up 10.9% in 12 months to 623,000 a week. Radio 4 is up 5.4% to 11.524m, while its sister station rises 9.1% to 2.019m – though both stations are down quarter-on-quarter.

Radio 2 remains the biggest at 15.020m (down from 15.514m a year ago). Radio 1 lost 8% of its audience – or 800,000 listeners – over the year to post a reach in Q1/17 of 9.103m. Radio 3 dips below 2 million (1.884m this quarter, down 11%). The main 5 live station is down by 400,000 listeners to 5.341m, while digital service 5 live Sports Extra sees a 37% drop year-on-year from 1.326m to 830,000.

Chris Evans still has the biggest with 9.38m listeners a week, up slightly quarter-on-quarter but down nearly 400k compared with a year ago. The Today Programme is up year-on-year from 6.757m to 7.133m, while Radio 1 remains third at 5.151m (down from 5.435m in Q1/16).

Kiss remains the biggest national commercial radio breakfast show with 2.083m (down both Q on Q and Y on Y), with Absolute on 1.898m and Classic FM 1.673m. Chris Moyles has 766,000 listeners across the UK, up from 717k last quarter, but down 10,000 from a year ago.

The most popular digital-only station is BBC 6 Music which hit a new record for weekly reach and hours with 2.35 million listeners and 23.4 million hours. Kisstory re-established itself as the most popular commercial digital-only stations with 1.55 million listeners, while LBC, which is distributed nationally on the Digital One multiplex, increased digital hours by 52% and digital listening share to 56.3% (from 47% in Q1 2016).

Digital listening has edged closer to 50% and reached a new record share of 47.2%, up from 44.1% in Q1 2016, according to RAJAR Q1 2017 data released today. Digital listening hours grew by 9% or 39.5 million hours compared to Q1 2016, boosted by strong growth of 1.2 million additional digital listeners with 66% of all radio listeners now listening on a digital platform.

Ashley Tabor, founder & executive president of Global, said: “Global’s brands have had another surge forward and I couldn’t be prouder of everyone at Global today for all the hard work that has gone into these results. In the fiercely competitive London market we continue to attract new listeners and they are listening for longer. Capital London in particular has had an incredible set of numbers winning on reach, share and hours with London’s number one hit music station up to 2.2m weekly listeners. As I hand back day-to-day running of Capital I couldn’t be prouder of what the team have achieved in the last 12 months.”

Richard Park, group executive director & director of broadcasting at Global, said: “We have the top four commercial radio brands nationally and a massive 24.4 million listeners across our portfolio. LBC continues to surge forward – in the past year we have added nearly a quarter of a million weekly listeners and achieved new records on market share and hours. Radio X continues to grow as it hits its highest reach and hours since we launched the brand.”

Dee Ford, Group Managing Director Radio, Bauer Media, said: “The quality of our talent and music has resulted in another outstanding performance. Rickie, Melvin and Charlie on KISS Breakfast have remained at number 1 across the UK and Absolute Radio’s Christian O’Connell at number 2. Our brilliant line-up of local and national radio talent such as Melanie C and Rick Astley on Magic, Frank Skinner on Absolute Radio and Gemma Atkinson on Key 103 has produced entertaining content for millions of listeners. There is more on the way as Ronan Keating and Dave Berry join Magic and Absolute Radio respectively later this year.”

Bob Shennan, Director of BBC Radio and Music, said: “Despite huge changes in the sector, it’s heartening to see a massive 89% of the UK population committing to listen to radio each week across a variety of devices. It has been a strong year for digital innovation right across BBC Radio with all our services seeing digital growth of one sort or another, especially BBC Radio 6 Music which goes from strength to strength, building a loyal audience that recognises a station run by music-lovers for music-lovers.”

Ben Cooper, Controller BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra & Asian Network, said: “Radio 1 is evolving with its young audiences as we live through changing times for traditional radio, so it’s particularly gratifying to see that in addition to around 10 million listeners, we have seen record figures for Radio 1 videos on Facebook with 80 million monthly views, and 1.4 billion total views on Radio 1’s YouTube channel. You can’t judge Radio 1 on RAJAR figures alone – just as you can’t judge a newspaper solely on physical sales – you have to take into account our digital innovations as well.”

Scott Taunton, Wireless Group’s CEO, said: “This has been another busy period across the Group and I’m pleased to see continued growth for our national stations alongside a very strong performance across our local stations where they have increased reach and listening hours. The strategy of creating an engaging portfolio and offering for both listeners and our advertisers is working, and the team is fully focussed on using this momentum to create and build future growth for the Group.”

Ford Ennals, CEO of Digital Radio UK, said: “The transition to digital radio has taken another significant step with 47.2% of listening now being on a digital platform and 66% of listeners listening on a digital platform. We are just 2.8 percentage points from 50% and 10 areas of the UK and three different age categories are already over 50% digital listening. We look forward to the achievement of the 50% listening threshold set by Government and working with the radio industry to determine a clear road map for radio’s digital future.“

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Posted on Thursday, May 18th, 2017 at 12:07 am by RadioToday UK

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